Let's Talk About the Fear of Trying Something New
When I started making fabricated jewelry, I had a lot if moments filled with an abundance of concern that I would fuck up. What if I melted a ring I was trying to repair? What if I cracked a stone I was trying to set? What if I made something the wrong size? What if I made something nobody liked? What if? What if? What if?
Well, I am here to tell you I have done all of those things (many of them more than once). There isn't a single thing we do in life that goes perfect every single time we do it. Don't even pretend there is. Does that mean I am a screw up? Nope. Does that mean I shouldn't keep trying? Nope. Does that mean I am a failure? Fuck no. Every mistake I have made in my jewelry career was an opportunity to learn. How did the situation happen? How can I mitigate this in the future?
I have heard from countless people who wanted to try their hand at making jewelry never attempt it because of the anxiety and fear that comes with trying something new. The thoughts I mentioned above somehow outweigh their curiousity and motivation to learn how to make jewelry and it saddens me.
I have never known a jeweler who didn't have a rolodex of jewelry fuck ups in their career. Things happen and not everything goes as we planned. That's life.
It reminds me of this time I wanted to make a 'worry stone' out of silver. You know, those pocket stones that are super smooth some folks carry around to rib between their fingers when they are feeling a bit anxious? I figured having a silver one that was super polished and could also be worn as a necklace would become the next 'big thing'.
I poured a solid rectangle ingot of silver about 10mm thick. I spent a chunk of time hand-sawing out an asymmetrical shape similar to a stone and then spent hours hand-filing it down. I removed all the sharp edges, filed then sanded, sanded then filed. I then polished the shit out of it until you could see your own reflection perfectly. I would estimate I spent probably 7 hours doing all of this thinking the entire time how awesome it was going to be. Then, I finally finished it.
To this day, it is known as 'The Eggplant'. It literally looked like a silver eggplant and was one of the most dissatisfying things I have ever made at the bench. I couldn't believe I spent that much time making something so terrible (at least in my eyes).
I kept The Eggplant, however. It still sits in a drawer in my bench to this day. I kept it as that reminder how not everything I do goes as planned or turns out how I anticipated.
(This is The Eggplant. Keep in mind I had been making jewelry for years before I attempted this 7-8 hour project)
If you have ever had even the smallest urge to make jewelry, I say GO FOR IT! It is so rewarding to create with your hands and the highs are worth every low.
If you are overwhelmed at where to start, I have posted a couple other info/blogs in this thread discussing both great tools to get you started as well as specifics like what you need to begin soldering. All of the info is what I have found works for me and has worked for me over the years. I know there are many ways to go about this jewelry thing, but I thought it would be nice to share some of my knowledge and experiences with you.
Please feel free to email me if you ever have any questions. I will be glad to help where I can.